The condition known as “Depression” is on the increase, spreading across all nations, spanning all demographic groups and penetrating areas of society where it has never before been known to exist. For the first time in history, more children than ever are being diagnosed as being “clinically depressed” and even the traditionally comfortable refuge of a “grand old age” is being slowly eroded.
The cost in terms human suffering is enormous and the damage to the fabric of families and communities is incalculable, but self evident as corrosive. The current generations of children who are growing up exposed to a depressed parent or guardian have a greatly increased likelihood of experiencing similar issues themselves and the future impact of this creeping, expanding contagious condition may well be catastrophic.
The above being the case, it is worth looking at how this situation is being met and to see how successfully we are preparing for the future challenges this will present. On the face of it, it seems that whatever we are doing in terms of medical provision to address this issue, both preventative and treatment-wise, is inadequate. I think that this is a good time for another in depth detailed look at the whole issue.
The term “Depression” describes a state of the human being in which spirits are depressed Although the conventional medical mind is always trying to reduce everything to physically quantifiable and measurable units, “a continuing feeling of unhappiness” is sufficient to describe the state. Its a level of happiness, which is consistently below the waterline state between happiness and unhappiness. The general perception is that this is a “medical condition” where something has gone wrong and needs to be fixed, the person has in some way become less than what they “should be”, this is seen as an unnatural state. Once the “negative” label has been attached to any condition it makes dealing or even thinking about the state itself in a positive manner, doubly difficult. Even if a person IS depressed, they generally don’t know this and just saying the word depression in their presence is sufficient to add an extra level of discomfort to their already painful state. I would like to challenge the very premise that depression is a bad thing and then if we can find the pearls of opportunity concealed in its depths, we might even be able to see a hidden purpose behind the state known as “depression”.
Now, its standard practice to become very serious whenever dealing with depression but I would even dispute that this is the right approach. In the words of DH Harding:-
"Without beauty the truth becomes solemn, ponderous, dreary; and goodness becomes joyless and over-earnest. Lightness of touch, spontaneity, gaiety, even abandon, are needed if the saint and the sage are to avoid taking on an ugly appearance, not to say an evil one. And indeed the universe does not look like the product of a logician, or a works-manager, and still less like the work of a priest; but much more like that of an artist who is well aware of the value of nonsense, of play, and of the superbly bountiful imagination. In Hell we are all admirably practical and down-to-earth; we do not find life fun, but take it and ourselves very seriously. But I suspect that all Heaven is light-hearted and merry, and that the skies are one broad smile, and that the blessed galaxies are even now shaking their fiery manes with laughter, while Satan is profoundly shocked at their lack of gravity and earnest common sense."
So, at the risk of offending the “professionals” who no doubt will be “profoundly shocked at the lack of gravity and earnest common sense”, let’s be daring and take it lightly from here.
Assuming that you are reading this for your own benefit, or for the benefit of someone close to you, knowing where you stand, knowing what help is available and most usefully, knowing how other travellers on this path (we have ALL to travel this path) have fared is going to be a big help.